William Lloyd Garrison.

Selections from the writings and speeches of William Lloyd Garrison. With an appendix .. online

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sackcloth ! strew ashes on your heads, and mourn your
country's downfall !

• For what is left the patriot here ?
For Greeks a blush — for Greece a tear ! '

Would that you had died, ere the sad truth was demon-
strated, that you fought and bled in vain !

A mob in Boston ! O, tell it not in St. Pctcrsburgh !
publish it not in the streets of Constantinople ! But it will


be told ; it will be published. The damning fact will ring
through all the haunts of despotism, and will be a cordial to
the heart of Metternich — sweet music in the ears of the
haughty Czar, and a prophetic note of triumph to the sover-
eign Pontiff. What American lip will henceforth dare to
breathe a sentence of condemnation against the bulls of the
Pope, or the edicts of the Autocrat ? Should a tongue wag
in affected sympathy for the denationalized Pole, the out-
lawed Greek, the wretched Serf, or any of the priest-ridden
or king-ridden victims of Europe, will not a voice come
thundering over the billows : —

' Base hypocrites ! let your charity begin at home ! Look
at your own Carolinas ! Go, pour the balm of consolation
into the broken hearts of your two millions of enslaved chil-
dren ! Rebuke the murderers of Vicksburg ! Reckon with
the felons of Charleston ! Restore the contents of rifled
mail-bags ! Heal the lacerations, still festering, on the
ploughed backs of your citizens ! Dissolve the star-cham-
bers of Virginia! Tell the confederated assassins of Ala-
bama and Mississippi to disband ! Call to judgment the
barbarians of Baltimore, and Philadelphia, and New York,
and Concord, and Plaverhill, and Lynn, and Montpelier ;
and the well-dressed mobocrats of Utica, and Salem, and
Boston ! Go, ye praters about the soul-destroying ignorance
of Romanism, gather again the scattered schoola of Canter-
bury and Canaan ! Get the clerical minions of Southern
taskmasters to rescind their " Resolutions " of withholding
knowledge from immortal Americans ! Rend the veil of
legal enactments, by which the beams of light divine are
hidden from millions who are left to grope their way through
darkness here, to everlasting blackness beyond the grave !
Go, shed your " patriotic " tears over the infamy of your
country, amidst the ruins of yonder Convent ! Go, proud
and sentimental Bostonians, preach clemency to the respect-
able horde who are dragging forth for immolation one of your
own citizens ! Cease your anathemas against the Vatican,
and screw your courage up to resist the worse than papal
bulls of Georgia, demanding, at the peril of your ' bread
and butter,' the ' heads ' of your citizens, and the passage
of GAG-LAWS ! Before you rail at arbitrary power in foreign
regions, save your own citizens from the felonious intercep-
tion of their correspondence ; and teach the sworn and paid


servants of the Republic the obligations of an oatli, and the
guaranteed rights of a free people ! Send not your banners
to Poland, but tear them into shreds, to be distributed to the
mob, as halters for your sons ! When, next July, you rail
at mitres, and crosiers, and sceptres ; and denounce the bow-
string, and the bayonet, and the faggot ; let your halls be
decorated with plaited scourges, wet with the blood of the
sons of the Pilgrims — let the tar cauldron smoke — the gib-
bet rear aloft its head — and cats, and bloodhounds,* (the
brute auxiliaries of Southern Liberty men,) howl and bark
in unison with the demoniacal ravings of a ' gentlemanly
mob' — while above the Orator of the day, and beneath the
striped and starry banner, stand forth, in characters of blood,
the distinctive mottoes of the age :

JIDoion toitl) iDiscnssion !

£ 2 n c I) £ a to ST r i u nt p I) a n t !

Slaucnj fox (Suer!

Ijail, (Slolumbia !

* See the accounts in Southern newspapers of ' a curious mode of
jnmishmeni' recently introduced, called * c.vt-ii.vuling,' The vic-
tim is stretched upon his face, and a cat, thro\vu upon his bore
shoulders, is dragged to tlie bottom of the back. This is continued
till the body is ♦ lacerated.'

'The Vicksburg (Miss.) Register says, that Mr. Earl, one of the
victims of mobocracy in Mississippi, ^vas tortured a whole )iight to
elicit confession. The brutal and hellish tormentors laid Mr. Earl
upon his back, and drew a cat tail foremost across his body ! ! ! He
hung himself soon after in jail.'

See also the accoiuits of the Mississippi murders given by a cor-
respondent in the Charleston Courier, dating his letter Tyger (how
appropriate!) Bayou, Madison County, ^liss. The folloM'ing is an
extract : — ' Andrew Boyd, a conspirator, was required by the Com-
mittee of Safety, and Mr. Dickerson, Hiram Reynolds and Iliram
Perkins (since killed) were ordered to arrest him. Thej' discovered
he was flying, and immediately commenced the pursuit, with n
pack of TUAiXKi) HOUjiDs. He miraculously effected his deliverance
from his pursuers, after swimming Big Black River, and running
through cane-brakes and swamps until night- fall, when the party
called off thk i)o(;.s. Early next morning they renewed the chase,
and started Boyd one mile from whence they had called off the
(logs. But he effected his escape on horse, (fortune throwing one in
his way,) (he houiuis not being accustomed to that training after he
quit the bush.' ,


Before you weep over the wrongs of Greece, go wash the
gore out of your national shambles — appease the frantic
mother robbed of her only child, the centre of her hopes,
and joys, and sympathies — restore to yon desolate husband
the wife of his bosom — abolish the slave marts of Alexan-
dria, the human flesh auctions of Richmond and New
Orleans — ' undo the heavy burdens,' 'break every yoke,'
and stand forth to the gaze of the world, not steeped in
infamy and rank with blood, but in the posture of penitence
and prayer, a free and regenerated nation !

Such, truly, are the bitter reproaches with Avhich every
breeze from a distant land might be justly freighted. How
long — in the name of outraged humanity I ask, how long
shall they be deserved ? Are the people greedy of a
world's execration? or have they any sense of shame —
any blush of patriotism left ? Each day the flagrant incon-
sistency and gross wickedness of the nation are becoming
more widely and correctly known. Already, on foreign
shores, the lovers of corruption and despotism are referring
with exultation to the recent bloody dramas in the South, and
the pro-slatery meetings and mobs of the country generally,
in proof of the ' dangerous tendency of Democratic princi-
ples.' How long shall the deeds of America clog the wheels
of the car of Universal Freedom ? Vain is every boast —
acts speak louder than words. While

* Columbia's sons are bought and sold ; '

while citizens of America are murdered without trial ; while
persons and property are at the mercy of a mob ; while city
authorities are obliged to make concessions to a bloody-mind-
ed multitude, and finally incarcerate unoffending citizens to
save them from a violent death ; while ' gentlemen of stand-
ing and property ' are in unholy league to effect the abduc-
tion and destruction of a ' foreigner,' the head and front of
whose offending is, that he is laboring to save the country
from its worst foe ; while assemblages of highly respectable
citizens, comprising large numbers of the clergy, and some
of the judges of the land, are interrupted and broken up,
and the houses of God in which they met attacJ^ed in open
day by thousands of men, armed with all the implements of
demolition ; while the entire South presents one great scene
of slavery and slaughter ; and while the North deeply sym-


pathise with their ' Southern brethren,' sanction their deeds
of felony and murder, and obsequiously do their bidding by
hunting down their own fellow-citizens who dare to plead for
equal rights ; and, fnially, while hundreds of the ministers
of Chrisit, of every denomination, are making common cause
with the plunderer of his species ; yea, themselves reduce
God's image to the level of the brute, and glory in their
shame ; I say, while these things exist, professions and
boasts are ' sounding brass ; ' men will learn to loathe the
name of Republicanism, and deem it synonymous with
mob despotism, and the foulest oppression on the face of
the globe !

A word to the opposers of the cause of emancipation.
You must stop in your career of persecution, or proceed
to still darker deeds and wider desolations. At present,
you have done nothing but help us. You have, it is true,
made a sincere, though impotent attempt to please your
masters at the South. The abolitionists have risen, after
every attempt to crush them, with greater energy and in
greater numbers. They are still speaking ; they are still
writing; still praying; still weeping, (not over their suffer-
ings^ hnX your sins) — they are working in public and in
private, by day and by night — they are sustained by prin-
ciples you do not (because you will not) understand, prin-
ciples drawn pure from the throne of God — they have
meat to eat which you know not of, and live, and are nour-
ished, and are strong, while you wonder that they do not
wither under your frown, and fall into annihilation before
the thunderbolts of your wrath. Some of you have con-
versed with them. What think you of the abolitionists.? of
their moral courage — their tact in argument — their knowl-
edge of the Scriptures — their interpretation of the Constitu-
tion } Have you found them ignorant ? Have you found
them weak ? Have you not often been driven to your wits'
end by the probing questions or ready answers of these silly
and deluded women and children .? How, then, do you ex-
pect to conquer.? If finally by the sword, why delay.?
Commence the work of butchery to-day. Every hour you
procrastinate, witnesses an increase of your victims, a
defection from your ranks, and an augmentation in numbers
and influence of those you wish to destroy. You profess to


be republicans. Have you ever asked yourselves what you
are doing for the principles you profess to revere ? In the
name of sacred Liberty, 1 call upon you to pause. I con-
jure you,

« By every hallowed name,
That ever led your sires to fame ' —

pause, and see whither your present deeds are tending. Be
honest — be just — just to yourselves, just to us, before you
condemn us, still more, before you seek to destroy us.
' Search us, and know our hearts ; try us, and know our
thoughts ; and see if there be any wicked way in us.' Con-
demn us not unheard. ' Strike, but hear.' Remember, too,
that your violence will effect nothing while the liberty of the
press remains. While the principles and opinions of aboli-
tionists, as promulgated in their journals, are carried on the
wings of the wind over sea and land, you do but give a
wider circulation to those principles and opinions by your
acts of violence and blood. You awaken the desire, the
determination, to know and understand what ' these babblers
say.' Be prepared, therefore, to violate the Constitution by
annihilating the Liberty of the Press.

In this place, it may not be inappropriate to introduce a
passage from an able letter, recently addressed by the elo-
quent M. de Chateaubriand to the French Chamber of Dep-
uties, while that body were advocating the recent law for
imposing severe restrictions on the French press : —

' I could (saj'S he) if I wished, crush you under the weight of
your origin, and show you to be faithless to yourselves, to your
past actions and language. But I spare you the reproaches which
the whole world heaps upon you. I call not upon you to give an
account of the oaths you have taken. I will merely tell you that
you have not arrived at the end of your task, and that, in the peril-
ous career you have entered upon — following the example of other
governments which have met with destruction — you must go on
till you arrive at the abyss. You have done nothing till you estab-
lish the censorship ; nothing but that can be efficacious against the
liberty of the press. A violent law may kill the man, but the cen-
sorship alone kills the idea, and this latter it is which ruins your
system. Be prepared, then, to establish the censorship, and be
assured that on the day on which you do establish it, you will per-



In concluding this lengthened communication, let me
exhort you, my beloved brother, to ' be of good cheer,' and
to exercise unwavering confidence in the God you serve —
the God of Jacob, and of EHjah, and of Daniel, of all who,
with singleness, prefer the faithful discharge of duty, and
its consequences, to the suggestions of expediency, and the
favor of the world. He is able to deliver you in the hour
of peril, and give you the victory over all your enemies.
To Him resort for refuge. He will be a hiding-place from
the wind, and a covert from the tempest ; as rivers of water
in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a, weary
land. To all, who, with you, are waging this holy war, I
would say: — Let not passing events move you! The
turbulence and malignity of your opponents prove the
potency and purity of your cause. But yesterday, the
abolitionists were esteemed i'cw, mean, silly, and contempti-
b'e. Now, they are of sufficient importance to arouse and
fix the attention of the entire country, and earth and hell
are ransacked for weapons and recruits, with which to fight
the ignorant, imbecile, superannuated and besotted believers
in the doctrine of immediate emancipation. This is a good
sign — an unequivocal compliment to the divinity of your
principles. ' Ye are not of the world, therefore, the world
hateth you. Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and
persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you
falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad ;
for great is your reward in heaven ; for so persecuted they
the prophets which were before you.' Let your motto be,
' Onwards!' You have already accomplished much. You
have awakened the country from its guilty slumber. You
can reckon upon three hundred Auxiliary Associations,
embracing a large portion of the effective moral energy of
the land. The churches of the North are taking right
ground upon the question. The principles of abolition are
ditfused through most of the seminaries of learning. The
females of America are nobly devoting themselves to this
work of mercy, regardless of the malignity of their heart-
less and unmanly persecutors. Onwards, therefore ! A
{ew years will witness an entire change in the sentiments of
the American people ; and those who are now drawn up in
opposition to your philanthropic movement, will blush to


aclmowledge the dishonorable part they have enacted. A
voice, from the other side of the Atlantic, says, Onwards !
You are supported by the prayers and sympathies of Great
Britain. The abolitionists of the British empire are with
you. They are the friends of the peace, happiness and
glory of your country, and earnestly desire the arrival of
the day, when, having achieved a victory over slavery on
this continent, you will join them in efforts for its abolition
throughout the world. While you pray fervently for
strength in the day of conflict, pray also for grace to bear
yourselves with meekness and charity towards those who
oppose you. Pursue your holy object m the Spirit of Christ,
' giving no offence in any thing, that the (cause) be not
(justly) blamed, but in all things approving yourselves as
the servants of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in
necessities, in distresses", in stripes, in imprisonments, in
tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fastings; by pureness,
by knowledge, by long suffering, by kindness, by the Holy
Ghost, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the
power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right
hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report
•and good report ; as deceivers, and yet true ; as unknown,
and yet well known ; as dying, and behold you live ; as
chastened, and not killed ; as sorrowful, yet always rejoic-
ing ; as poor, j-et making many rich ; as having nothing,
;and yet possessing all things.'

Your affectionate friend,

and devoted fellow-laborer,


Wm. Lloyd Garrison.



Joy to thee, Son of Trial ! — and so soon
Hath it been given thee thy faith to prove?

Joy ! so that Heaven only grant this boon,

That nought on cartli thy steadfastness may move !

Yet when, but yesternight, I saw thee go,
Surrounded by that fierce, insensate throng,
Drunk with the wine of wrath, for evil strong,

I felt my soul with bitterest tears o'erflow.

! with what earnestness of passion went
Forth from my heart, my whole soul after thee !

1 knew that, though to bonds and prison sent,
Thou from all stain of evil still wert free ;

Yet a strange feeling, half of joy arose.
That friend of mine should have such men his foes.
Boston, October 22, 1S35.


In proof that the American Colonization Society is not
hostile to slavery ; is nourished by fear and selfishness ; is
animated by a rabid and heathenish spirit of complexional
caste ; is hostile to the emancipation of the slave population,
except they are expelled from the country ; is the traducer
and persecutor of the free people of color ; is in the hands
and under the control of Southern slaveholders ; is a bul-
wark of strength and safety to the slave system, enhances
the value of slave property, and thus directly tends to per-
petuate what God and nature demand should be instantly
abolished ; and is therefore a cruel, liypocritical, demonia-


cal combination, — a conspiracy against justice and human-
ity on a colossal scale, — to be abhorred, denounced and
exposed by all who fear God and regard man ; the follow-
ing quotations (which might be multiplied to the size of a
volume) from the Annual Reports of hs Boards of Mana-
gers, and the ' African Repository,' the official organ of the
Society, indisputably demonstrate : —

' In every part of the United States, there is a broad and
impassable line of demarcation between every man who has
one drop of African blood in his veins, and every other
class in the community. The habits, the feelings, all the
prejudices of society — prejudices which neither refinement.,
nor argument., nor education., nor religion itself, can sub-
due — mark the people of color, whether bond or free, as
the subjects of a degradation inevitable and incuraUe. The
African in this country belongs by birth to the very lowest
station in society ; and from that station he can never rise,
he his talents., his enterprise, his virtues what they may . . .
They constitute a class by themselves — a class out of
which 710 individual can he elevated, and below which none
can be depressed.' — [African Repository, vol. iv. pp. 118,

' We have endeavored, but endeavored in vain, to restore
them either to self-respect, or to the respect of others (!!!)
It is not our fault that we have failed ; (!!!) it is not theirs.
It has resulted from a cause over which neither ive, nor they,
can ever have control [that is to say, they have colored
skins ! ! !] Here, therefore, they must he for ever dehased ;
more than this, they must be for ever useless ; more even
than this, they must be for ever a nuisance, from which it
were a blessing for society to be rid. And yet they, and
THEY only, are qualified /or colonizing Africa'' (! ! !)
[Idem, vol v. p. 276.]

' They constantly hear the accents, and behold the tri-
umphs, of a liberty which here they can never enjoy.'' .' . . .
* It is against this increase of colored persons, who take but
a nominal freedom here, and cannot rise from their degrad-


ed condition^ that this Society attempts to provide.' — [Idem,
vol. vi. pp. 17, 82.]

' Is it not icisc^ then, for the free people of color and their
friends to admit, loliat cannot reasonably he doubted^ that the
people of color must, in this country^ remain for ages,
PROBABLY FOR EVER, a Separate and inferior cast.c^ weighed
down by causes, powerful, universal, inevitable ; which
neither legislation nor Christianity can remove } ' — [Idem,
vol. vii. p. 196.]

' It [the Society] condemns no man because lie is a slave-
holder."^ * * * t They [abolitionists] confound the misfor-
tunes of one generation with the crimes of another, and
would sacrifice both individual and public good to an unsub-
stantial theory of the rights of man.'' — [Idem, vol. vii. pp.
200, 202.]

' The existence of slavery among us, though not at all to
be objected to our Southern brethren as a fault, is yet a blot
on our national character, and a mighty drawback from our
national strength.' — [Second Annual Report of the N. Y.
State Col. Society.]

' They do not perceive the propriety of confounding the
crime of the kidnapper, with the misfortune of the owner
of imported and inherited slaves.' — [North American Re-
view, for July, 1832.]

' We hold their slaves, as loe hold their other property,
SACRED.' — [African Repository, vol. i. p. 283.]

' To the slaveholder, who had charged upon them the
wicked design of interfering with the rights of property,
under the specious pretext of removing a vicious and dan-
gerous free population, they address themselves in a tone of
conciliation and sympathy. We know your Riniirs, say
they, and we respect them.'' — [Idem, vol. vii. p. 100.]

* It was proper again and again to repeat, that it was far
from the intention of the Society to affect, in any manner,
the tenure by wiiich a certain species of property is held.
He was himself a slaveholder; and he considered that kind
of property as inviolable as any other in the country.^
[Speech of Henry Clay — First Annual Report.]


' The scope of the Society is large enough, but it is
in no wise mingled or confounded with the broad sweeping
views of a few fanatics in America, who would urge us on
to the sudden and total abolition of slavery.' — [African
Repository, vol. iii. p. 97.]

' What is to be done ? Immediate and universal emanci-
pation will find {qw if any advocates among judicious and
reflecting men.' * * * ' Here, that race is in every form a
curse, and if the system, so long contended for by the uncom-
promising abolitionist, could prevail, its effect would be to
spread discord and devastation from one end of the Union
to the other.'— [Idem, vol. iv. pp. 202, 363.]

' Were the very spirit of angelic charity to pervade and
fill the hearts of all the slaveholders in our land, it would by
no means require that all the slaves should be instantaneously
liberated.' — [Idem, vol. v. p. 329.]

' No scheme of abolition will meet my support, that leaves
the emancipated blacks among us.' — [Hon. Mr. Mason, of
Virginia. — Idem, vol. ii. p. 188.]

' We would say, lihcrate them only on condition of their
going to Africa or to Hayti.'' — [Idem', vol. iii. p. 26.]

' I am not complaining of the oivners of slaves ; it would
be as humane to throw them from the decks in the middle
passage, as to set them free in our country.' * * * ' Aiiy
scheme of emancipation without colonization^ they know and
see and feel to be productive of nothing but evil ; evil to all
whom it affects : to the white population, to the slaves, to the
manumitted themselves.'^ — [Idem, vol. iv. pp. 226, 300.]

' If this question were submitted, whether there should be
either immediate or gradual emancipation of all the slaves
in the United States, without their removal or colonization^
painful as it is to express the opinion, / have no douht that
it would he unwise to emancipate them."* — [Idem, vol. vi.
p. 5.]

* All emancipation, to however small an extent, which per-
mits the jjersons emancipated to remain in this country^ is an
evil, which must increase with the increase of the operation.'
[First Annual Report.]


* They will annex the condition, that the emancipated shall
leave the country.'' — [Second Annual Report.]

' Colonization, to be correct, must be beyond seas — Eman-
cipation, loith the Uherty to remain on this side of the Atlan-
tic., is hut an act of dreamy madness!^ — [Tliirtcenth
Annual Keport.]

' The Society maintains, that no slave ought to receive his
liberty, except on condition of being excluded, not merely
from the State which sets him loose, hut from the ichole coun-

Online LibraryWilliam Lloyd GarrisonSelections from the writings and speeches of William Lloyd Garrison. With an appendix .. → online text (page 31 of 33)